The 2017 recruiting cycle was an important one for Steve Prohm and the future of the Iowa State basketball program. Heading into next season, the Cyclones will be losing a lot of experience and talent that was a major building block for the success of the last few years. Veteran players like Monte Morris, Nazareth Mitrou-Long and many others.
As a result, Steve Prohm and the rest of the Cyclone staff had to attack the recruiting trail and land some of their top targets. Well, after the first day of the early signing period, the staff has done just that and currently have three prospects that they really like. That trio of talented recruits, have the Cyclones currently sitting just outside the top 25, according to Scout’s 2017 team rankings.
Here's the full breakdown of each signees recruitment, scouting report, and expectations at Iowa State:
Ranking: No. 66 overall, No. 14 ranked PG, 4-star prospect.
Wigginton a 6-foot-2, 170-pound prospect out of Oak Hill Academy, located in Virginia was easily the Cyclones biggest target within the entire cycle due to the desperate need at the point guard position. That was made evident by the amount of visits from Steve Prohm and contact throughout the process. His decision ultimately came down to Oregon and Iowa State and he decided he wanted to spend the next several years of his life in Ames, Iowa.
"I just felt it was right in my heart after my visit," Wigginton said about his commitment to Iowa State. "I really liked my visit. I liked how the coaches were talking to me. Me and the coaches have had a good relationship since they first started. I know I can go in there and make an impact as a freshman. I think this is the right fit for me. Steve Prohm, the head coach, ever since he talked to me the first, he didn't miss a day talking to me, whether it was texting or calling, it's like a family over there."
The fellow Canadian is expected to come in and make an immediate impact for Iowa State. In addition, he will be joining fellow Canadian and Iowa State senior forward Nazareth Mitrou-Long.
At the end of the day, Wigginton was a huge get for the Iowa State coaching staff. He is an athletic and great perimeter shooter. Wigginton makes people around him better and is an excellent passer, he really knows how to move and come off screens. The only part of his game that might hold him back from being the player that many people think he will be early during his time at Ames is his ability to create off the dribble.
Ranking: No. 31 overall SF in the nation and three-star prospect.
Watson was never a major target like Wigginton was, but he was a prospect that was needed to make this class complete. The 6-foot-6, 190-pounder ended up becoming the first commit for the 2017 class and a true leader in helping the staff bring in more prospects.
In terms of his recruitment, Iowa State seemingly began to separate themselves from the pack during the spring when they made him a clear priority. Lewis made several visits to the Ames campus, and he always seemed to come away impressed. On August 9th, Lewis called a press conference after his weekend official visit to Iowa State and had his final list of schools all set up: Illinois, Marquette, and UNLV. It was no surprise to many when he put on the Iowa State hat and announced his commitment to the Cyclones.
“They have shown me a lot of love and supported me the entire time," Watson said. "They are great guys, and I just felt like it was the right thing to do to go to a place that has supported you from the beginning. Coach Prohm is a great guy. He has been honest with me and we have talked a lot. I think he is a great coach and someone who I will have a good time playing for in college.”
Watson, a 6-foot-6, 190-pound small forward out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is a freakishly athletic and long prospect. He has the ability to knock down the three-point shot at anytime during a game. At Iowa State, I expect him to take some time to put on bulk and muscle. I see him becoming a hybrid 3; a player who can rebound, take it to the hole, and shoots lights out.
Rankings: 3-star prospect
McNeill was Iowa State’s second commitment within the 2017 recruiting cycle. The 6-foot-2 guard out of Houston (Tex.), picked Iowa State over a wide variety of interest that included SMU and Texas Tech. McNeill committed just a day after his official visit to Iowa State concluded. A three-star prospect, McNeill was recruited to fulfill a combo guard type role for the Cyclones.
According to the Scout rankings, the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder out of the Lone Star State is labeled as a point guard, but at Iowa State it looks like he will come in and be more of a hybrid 1-2 guard. He’s a prospect that similar to Wigginton, can play either the 1 or 2 spot. McNeill is a high-motor player who plays exceptional perimeter and man-to-man defense. On the offensive side of things, he’s a knock down shooter, not as deadly in the mid-range area as he is from beyond the arc.
The Cyclones still have a talented guy signed in the 2016 class, but will ultimately play when the 2017 class does in the 2017-2018 season. That's 2016 signee three-star power forward Cameron Lard. He’s back in Houston taking the three courses that he needs and he will arrive in December, but will take an academic redshirt. Steve Prohm has made it very clear that he’s beyond confident that Lard will be in Ames by the time December rolls around.
What’s next for Iowa State?
Steve Prohm still has a total of three offers left to hand out for this 2017 recruiting class. It appears like Prohm wants a high school power forward, which that looks to be Isaiah Stokes. Also, a JUCO or fifth year graduate transfer forward and finally just a prospect who can come in and be a major threat on the offensive side of things. He doesn’t seem to care if that’s just a simple transfer, JUCO prospect, or fifth year graduate transfer.